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IMG_3751Yep. That’s a .5 degrees on that thermometer, bitter cold with a nasty wind to go along with it. If the power goes out today, a lot of people will be mighty cold if they don’t have an auxiliary source of heat. So what would you do? How would you keep warm if you had to rely on nothing but yourself to keep from freezing? The best way is to start from the inside and work your way out.

Begin with something warm to drink and eat. Avoid alcohol which is a central nervous system depressant and constricts blood vessels. It may feel warm going down but it will quickly  make you colder. Stick to coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soups but remember that if water is in short supply caffeine is dehydrating.

Next, trap your body’s heat with a layer next to your skin that is moisture wicking. Cold is bad but damp and cold can be fatal. Ask your skiing friends what they wear on the slopes. Follow this with a light-weight wool turtleneck and followed by a wool or chamois shirt.  Make sure your head, hands and feet are well protected with wool. A vest will keep your core warm while giving some range of motion. Slippers will protect feet from cold floors.

After you are well layered, go for a down blanket so you are encased in heat trapping layers. If you have any means of heat, even a candle, use it in as small a space as possible but be sure you have enough heat exchange to be safe and exercise extreme safety around open flames. CO2 detectors and smoke detectors are critical.

If you have extra money, spend it on getting your home tight. Get the best windows and insulation you can afford. If you are living on a shoestring budget, draft dodgers around doors and windowsills and bubble wrap affixed to windows will help. Keep shades open if the sun is shining and cover windows with insulated drapes at night.

Young children and the ill and elderly are more susceptible to hypothermia and must be carefully watched. Don’t forget your pets. They need protection too.

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